Harnessing the Power of Talk

Dr. Sally B. Gutierez, Science Education Associate of UP NISMED, presented her paper “Harnessing the power of talk: Interplay of teachers’ dialogic scaffolding practices and students’ expressions of argumentative agency” at the 51st Annual Conference of the Australian Science Education Research (ASERA) on 23-26 June 2020. With conference sessions that focused on optimized constructive discussions on the K-12 teaching and learning and higher education, ASERA 2020 was initially set to be held at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales but was shifted to full virtual mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The paper describes different strategies of dialogic scaffolding that elicit students’ expressions of argumentative agency. Using two teachers as two different cases, the study showed that each teacher executed different dialogic scaffolding practices with two different but related strategies. The first teacher used appropriation strategies by: 1) building abstract concepts from students’ prior knowledge and experiences, and 2) providing contextualized scenario-based issues and students responded by sharing their personal experiences. The second teacher used negotiation strategies by: 1) offering neutral statements as prerequisites for integrative negotiation, and 2) converging disparate ideas leading to collective consensus. The study concludes that as the classroom dynamics is usually dominated with oral interactions, teachers’ dialogic scaffolding for argumentation is a promising method for the gradual enhancement of students’ communication and reasoning skills through classroom argumentation. 

The paper which is part of Dr. Gutierez’ dissertation at Seoul National University is co-authored by her supervisor Dr. Heui-Baik Kim.